percentage of the spread of melanoma..

Posted By
4/12/2011 8:07pm
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Replies: 9

hi everyone..


i am here for my best friend.. who is at this moment clear of melanoma.. had one lesion removed.. was told he was good to go.. and then it turns out

that he found a lump in his groin 2 yrs later..  had the nodes removed.. they found a bit of mel in the one node.. and is now NED for the moment..


what is bothering me.. is my co-worker's wife recently had a melanoma taken off her arm.. once again.. they say she is good to go.. she has made no

changes to her lifestyle.. of which i have no idea... but.. i worry that it will show up having spread just like my best friend...


does anyone know... how often it returns... or is it just random??? seems pretty ramdom.. but.. very scary...


i worry about everyone now..


thanks so much..



You really need more information.  When people are diagnosed, they are usually given a "depth" of their lesion which is a part of staging.  There is either a depth or "in situ" which mean no depth.  The deeper the lesion, the higher the probability of melanoma returning.

I had a .58mm lesion in 1992.  It hasn't come back.  I've also had two other lesions but I am still melanoma free.  There are people who've had thinner lesions than I have have their cancer return.  But the trend is the deeper the lesion, the higher the risk.

So you really need to know more information before you worry about everyone.  Some lesions are truly higher risk than others.

Best wishes,


Hi Michelle,

I don't believe or trust any doctor who says you're "good to go". You can't take chances on melanoma. Some are lucky and get totally clear if it's caught early, but very often, all it takes is one little rogue cell that escaped the knife to gear up another army of little mel soldiers. At the very least, periodic follow-up scans and/or check-ups should be done for a few years after diagnosis and surgery. I was one who was "good to go" after a clear WLE and SNB. and 6 months later I recurred, and I've been doing one treatment afer another ever since, and I've been Stage IV since Feb 2009. Your friends should find a reputable melanoma specialist. Good luck.


Sharyn, Stage IV

WLE, SNB, ILP, LND, PV-10, Uterine mets (Hysterectomy), GM-CSF, WBR, RT, Temodar, B-RAF negative, SRS (Novalis) to brain, Breast mets (Mastectomy), currently on Ipilimumab compassionate use trial
Mets to brain, lung and sub-qs. Craniotomy.


My questions: who is the "they" that removed her mole?  Who is the doctor these two are seeing? Or did a PA in a clinic remove the moles and pronounce them good?  For "them" to say there was melanoma in the mole yet she's good to go (and they got that wrong with a similar intital scenario with her husband.   What is she thinking about being OK with "good to go"?) they had to do a pathology, where there any other follow up all to make sure it hadn't spread?

I really hate to drag my story out again, but my mole was removed by a PA in an urgent care clinic (thank God, literally, that it was a Duke UC because I was immediately in the Duke system)...she removed .4mm and said the tissue underneath looked was totally raised, black, and bleeding...didn't take rocket science to know that mole had cancer in it!  The path came back melanoma and the clinic Dr had me an appt with a melanoma onc scheduled.

It may really be that she IS OK...hope so, but she's playing with fire if she doesn't see a specialist for consultation.  Her hubby has already been burned and she should have learned a lesson. Scary? Heck yeah. But to me, I'd rather be scared on this side of life than suddenly find myself dealing with more than I ever imagined because I was scared.  Gee, that's my story too!  fear is no one's friend.  Advise her to get moving, please.

Would more folks had friends like you!



Please, don't let your friend and/or co worker just take their word for it. Have them insist on being checked periodically by an oncologist, get a sentinel node test and have them monitor the sentinel node.

My husband had an in-situ melanoma removed from his right shoulder June of 2009. They found nothing in the excision biopsy, so they told him he was fine, just to check in with a dermatogist for follow ups every 6 months.

2 weeks ago, he had a necrotic lymph node the size of a racquetball removed from under his right arm and they found melanoma in 11 of the 18 lymph nodes they took out. It literally grew out of nowhere in the matter of just a few weeks.

He was a healthy guy with no symptoms and now he's 3c.

It can happen. I'm not trying to scare you. But just, please, impress upon your friends that they need to be vigilant and take an active role in staying safe and healthy.


Gonna stand my ground, won't get turned around,
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down;
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down.
~Tom Petty

There is one other thing you need to take into account when you post on a board like this.  The exceptions are the ones who live here.  The vast majority of people who are "good to go" have no reason to come back here.  That doesn't mean they shouldn't be vigilant about their health, but it does mean those who usually stick around here tend to have a reason to - and those that move on don't typically deal with melanoma again.  It's the nature of a place like this.

Best wishes,


When you guys say "depth of lesion," what do you mean? lesion being on the skin? or lesion being a tumor or infected lymph node? i'm confused.  

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” — Buddha

The depth, or Breslow depth, is only used on the original or primary site.  Most typically a mole on the skin.  It is the depth (typically in millimeters) from the epidermal/dermal junction to the deepest melanoma cells found in the dermis or subcutaneous fat.  To date, that has been determined to be the best prognositc factor in determining risk for melanoma metastases. 


How are you doing???



If I recall correctly, doctors did not find a primary in your case. If a primary mole would have been found on your skin and it was melanoma, the Breslow Depth of the melanoma lesion would have been given in MM.

Michael stage 1b-Breslow depth .30 mm, not ulcerated, and 1 mitosis (rate of cell division)

This information is for general patient educational & information purposes only. It should not be used for diagnosing/treating a health problem or disease. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your healthcare provider.